I went up to MoCCA NY last night with Judie and Rob Bruce to hear some stories of Al Jaffee about his career and inspirations. At 91 years old, Jaffee is still one of the funniest humans on the face of the Earth. He told us how he came up with his famed Mad Magazine “Fold-In”, which was the opposite of a fold-out, which was popular in better magazines like National Geographic and Popular Science. He told stories of Hugh Hefner putting him and Will Elder in a room at the Algononquin Hotel to meet a deadline on a “Little Annie Fanny” comic for Playboy, only to find the obsessive Elder removing Jaffee’s work to constantly improve the already late artwork.
Throughout the evening, I kept thinking about my own relationship to Jaffee’s work; specifically “Snappy Answers For Stupid Questions”. When MoCCA’s Danny Fingeroth concluded the panel discusion, MoCCA president Ellen Abramowitz began the Q&A. After a few questions, I couldn’t contain myself, and rather than ask a question, I told Jaffee and the audience a story: “Mr. Jaffee, when I was about seven years old, I was reading “Snappy Answers To Stupid Questions” while in a car with my family going from North Jersey to visit my Aunt and Uncle at the Jersey Shore for the holidays. When we arrived, My Aunt came to the door to greet us and said to me, “My Cliff, how much you’ve grown!” Seeing this as an opportunity to use one of the lines in your book I replied, “Gee, and I had my heart set on being a midget!” And that’s when my father gave me a slap across the back of my head that I have remembered to this day.” The audience bursted into laughter, but more important; I got a laugh out of Al Jaffee. My life is now complete.